3 Ways to Kill your Career (before it even starts)

The days of getting a job and sticking with it for 30 years and a gold watch are, essentially, gone. Sure, occasionally you will meet a lifer. Someone who not only hit it out of the park on their first at-bat but also impressed the bosses enough to work up through the ranks on the first go. But stats tell us that’s incredibly rare. In fact, the average college graduate these days will have around 15 jobs between the ages of 18 and 35. Many of these may be hourly grinds while you’re in school, but several will also be misfires after graduation. And, while that sounds normal, that version of “normal” could derail the rest of your career.

A quick glance of labor statistics will tell you more people are quitting their jobs and either moving over or moving up. That might seem like a great reason to be optimistic about your chances … but don’t jump too soon to that conclusion. The job market is still tighter than a corset, and there’s precious little room for error.

While leaving a job might be the best move for you, leaving in the wrong way is always a bad career move. Sure, it might make for a cool YouTube video or a “hilarious” Vine, but spiking the ball at your exit is stupid. People know, and people talk, and the world is a much smaller place than you realized. Particularly with social media. So, if you do have to leave, make sure it’s for a good reason and done in a professional way. Even if they don’t like it, they can’t honestly say something negative if you exit with class.

As David Milberg, an entrepreneur noted, “Don’t underestimate the power of connections. Who you know still matters. What they will say about you when you are not around, matters even more. A lot of jobs are gained and lost with 30-second phone calls between golf buddies or brunch besties. And you might not even know they know each other. Conversely, no matter where you are and where you plan to go, keep those connections strong. Make sure you have strategic connections with people both where you are leaving and where you hope to end up.”

Choose wisely. Whether you are applying for an internship or a “real job,” be sure to pick a place that best fits both your ambitions and your personality. Some professionals apply simply for a “good name” on their resume. That’s not always the best move. Sometimes it helps, but most of the time it’s much better to have a great review than it is to have a short stint at a “big name.”

Whatever you choose to do and whenever you choose to do it, the bottom line is this: Be careful and calculated. Don’t ever do something shortsighted and crass … even if it’s extremely tempting or seems hilarious at the time.

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